‘Namma Veetu Pillai’ review: Sivakarthikeyan bounces back with this engaging family drama

‘Namma Veetu Pillai’: Familiar, but well done   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kollywood threw up Otha Seruppu last week that had Parthiban at the start of the film, and had only him throughout. There, he was alone and almost engaging in a storytelling session with the audience. This week’s release, the Sivakarthikeyan-starrer Namma Veetu Pillai (NVP) is starkly different. When we see Arumpon (Sivakarthikeyan) first, post a lengthy story narrated by his grandfather (Bharathirajaa) detailing their family tree, he is in the middle of a kabaddi match. Hundreds are cheering him from the sidelines. The frame is filled with people, and the cinema hall is filled with sounds from trumpets and nadaswarams.

That’s a sound you’ll hear for the rest of 150-odd minutes of Namma Veetu Pillai, a film that brings back to theatres some elements that Tamil cinema has long been associated with – ‘thangachi-annan pasam’ (brother-sister affection), tonnes of festivals and heck, even a liberal dose of melodrama. It is to director Pandiraj’s credit that he manages to weave in adequate elements of love, sentiment and friendship in the dozen major characters (yes!) that will dominate the screen.

Namma Veetu Pillai
  • Genre: Drama
  • Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Aishwarya Rajesh, Anu  Emmanuel, Bharathiraja
  • Storyline: A brother’s affection for his sister comes to test after she gets married

There is also conflict at the centre-stage of the film that is not quite direct. It arises thanks to Ayyanaar (Natty, an actor who I have been rooting for since En Kitta Modhadhey) who stands between this almost-sachcharine affection between Arumpon and Thulasi (Aishwarya Rajesh in a strong role done well). NVP is the tale of how the brother dotes on his sister and how he has to deal with her marriage to Ayyanar, someone Arumpon is not particularly friends with.

I wished that this ‘enemity’ had become the core of NVP, but Pandiraj has other ideas, ones that are partly engaging. There’s a major flashback in the second, which details the friendship between Arumpon’s dad and his bestie. A Hindu-Muslim angle presents itself. Village festivals and weddings go by. All these might remind you a bit of Rajinikanth’s Petta, but NVP is clearly not a star vehicle. It takes on severely-emotional tangents towards the end, probably justifying Pandiraj’s dig at his own work, terming it Pasamalar’s latest version.

Sivakarthikeyan comes to NVP after two not-so-favourable outings (Seema Raja and Mr Local), and this setting is, clearly, his turf. He aces the emotional scenes, and his camaraderie with Soori, though short, is enjoyable. His romance track with Maangani (Anu Emmanuel) is a direct lift from the sequences of many of his own earlier films, but there is composer Imman’s score and Nirav Shah’s frames to cheer for.

The editing reminded me of the kind of cuts in a director Hari film (festivals and friendships blossom within the space of a few scenes and songs, and disappear even faster), but packaging them all neatly in limited time, and not letting the audience get bored, certainly spells ‘task accomplished’ in bold.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 8:58:17 AM |

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